If you closely examine your store-bought cleaning solution bottles, you may notice a small set of hyphenated numbers printed somewhere or some numbers following the letters exp. This is the expiration date. It is not uncommon for many of us to not check these numbers. What to Know About Expired Cleaning Products
Do Cleaning Products Actually Expire?
It may seem like since you don’t eat/consume cleaning products that the expiration date is irrelevant or that it is just there to let the store know when to change the products on the shelves. Cleaning products actually can expire, they begin to degrade over time. Cleaning products begin to break down with time as they sit on the shelf in the bottle. As they break down, it can affect how well they work or even change the pH balance which also renders them less effective. When a cleaning product starts breaking down it may not clean/kill as many germs as the bottle claims.
Should You Use Expired Cleaning Products?
Some expired cleaning products are not going to cause damage to your home surfaces or other things they are cleaning, they just won’t be as strong and powerful as they once were when you first purchased them. You might find that it takes a little more elbow grease to get a job done than it did before right after bringing it home.
If you are using a disinfecting cleaner, however, you want to stick to that expiration date a little more closely. A disinfectant past its expiration date is not going to kill germs the way you expect it to. So anything that you expect to sanitize and wipe out germs really should be replaced as soon as you notice it has expired.
How Long do Cleaning Products Last?
The best way, of course, to check the effectiveness of your cleaning products is to read that expiration date. Some products don’t come with an expiration date, if this is the case, you can use the manufacture date. Once you find this date use the guide below to help determine if the product is past it’s prime.
*Tip: When you purchase a new cleaning solution, grab a permanent marker and write the date you first used/opened the item.
- For Bleach: Once you open the bleach it has a pretty short shelf-life. Bleach becomes less effective just six months after it is opened.
- Multi-Surface Sprays: A majority of multi-purpose cleaners will last around 2 years.
- Dish Detergent: Lasts anywhere between one year and 18 months.
- Laundry Soap: Is good for 6 months to 1 year after opening.
- Disinfecting Sprays: Around 2 years after the manufacture date NOT the expiration or opening date.
- Hand Sanitizer: carefully look for an expiration date. Most hand sanitizers last between 2 and 3 years.
Getting a Little Longer Life Out of Cleaning Products
Expiration dates are set assuming the purchaser is going to store them in ideal conditions. The best way to store products is at room temperature out of direct sunlight. For example: a hand sanitizer stored in a warm car is going to lose potency much faster. It will degrade the percentage of alcohol and make it less effective to kill germs on your hands before it hits the expiration date.
Disposing of Old Products
If you find some really old products in your home, how should you get rid of them safely and responsibly? If it is a pretty small amount, the cleaner can be diluted by running the faucet while you pour it down the drain.
For larger amounts, look at the label to see if there are any safe disposal instructions. If you do not see any it is a good idea to call the local hazardous waste disposal facility and ask for recommendations. It is good to know that some chemicals should never be combined even when pouring them out to dispose of them, especially bleach and ammonia which cause extremely harmful fumes.
For more cleaning tips and information please browse our blog. For professional carpet cleaning in Snohomish and surrounding areas please make an appointment any time online or over the phone
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